Irish brothers Ross and Arron Forde claimed their maiden win in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup on this weekend's two-day Ulster International Rally.
The Galway crew took a long-awaited victory in round four of the single-make championship as they finished 38th overall and won class one in their Global Group Ireland and BCC Group-backed Suzuki Swift on the 135-mile Armagh-based tarmac event.
The pair took charge at the top of the Cup leaderboard from the outset and never looked back. As closest rivals Mark Gamble/Steve Link and Niki Bjerg/Arly Larsen endured their problems, the Fordes made sure they capitalised to build up their lead.
They had no issues or dramas to contend with as their Galway Mini Centre-prepared Swift ran faultlessly and they simply sat tight on Saturday, not risking their advantage to come home a comfortable four minutes ahead of second placed Gordon Nichol/Emma Morrison and take the win that had eluded them in the previous three rounds.
“We're absolutely delighted with the victory,” said Ross. “We set off a little cautious on the first couple of stages following the accident in the previous round on the Isle of Man but we managed to take the lead and hold it.
“We didn't want to do anything stupid to lose our position at the top and as we'd built a lead, we just paced ourselves, which is something I've never done before.
“We needed the win badly and it's great to finally get it, we didn't put a scratch on the car and had no problems at all. I'm pleased for the whole crew and would like to thank the lads from Galway Mini Centre who put so much effort into getting the car ready ahead of the event.
“I'd also like to thank our sponsors Global Group Ireland and the BCC Group. The rally went the way it was supposed to go for a change.”
The result sees Ross remain sixth in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup championship standings and Arron remain seventh in the co-drivers' table, but taking into account dropped scores after the pair failed to finish the opening round, they are third overall and still within reach of the title.
With dropped scores, Ross is now joint first in the Junior Swift Sport Cup with Danish junior champion Bjerg. The winner gets a place in the Pirelli Star Driver Award and in with a chance to win a funded drive next year.